Music has always been a tool of free expression. Particularly from the 1960s onwards, artists began politicising their messages through music, voicing their opinions about war, famine and other hardships. The Beatles, Bob Geldof, The Exploited and Pussy Riot music has not just been a tool of expression, but a call to action.
Yesterday saw the release of a track by New Zealand hip-hop act @peace, grimly titled “Kill the PM”.
“An Auckland hip-hop crew slammed for releasing a song with lyrics that apparently include a threat to kill Prime Minister John Key are urging young people to enrol to vote.
Kill The PM, by @peace, depicts a golfing, luxury car-driving Key, and says he should die - "ain't doin' nothin' so I'm gonna kill the prime minister".
It continues: "I been tryin' to get a job but they got none/so I instead I got a sawnoff shotgun/and 'pop'."”
It soon came to our attention that @peace had been in receipt of taxpayer-funded grants from NZ On Air for previous tracks.
According to the NZ On Air website, the group has received $32,000 since late 2011. $6,000 of which was received to make a music video for one of their songs last month.
So far NZ On Air has refused to denounce @peace for their hateful track, nor have they pledged to refuse the group taxpayer-funded grants in the future.
We have written to NZ On Air to outline our concerns and request assurance from the Chief Executive that no further taxpayer-funded grants will be made to any group espousing hate-speech.